Natural Sciences Managers Overview

Because there are a limited number of higher-level management jobs competition will be tough, but lower-level management jobs should be easier to get. Natural sciences managers work in government and industries that have science departments and responsibilities, earning, experience and education vary widely. Like all managerial positions, natural science managers need to be flexible, decisive, detail-oriented and analytical. Plus, good communication and leadership skills are paramount.

Nature of the Work for Natural Sciences Managers

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers coordinate, plan and direct activities in fields including physical sciences, life sciences, statistics, mathematics and research and development in these fields. They may oversee a particular department and help to ensure that the organization operates efficiently. These managers may be responsible for keeping insurance requirements and contracts up to date and making sure that government regulations and safety standards are followed.

Specific duties will vary depending upon the size of the organization, level of authority and degree of responsibility. Smaller organizations may have just one natural sciences manager while larger ones will need several layers of these managers for different areas of the business. Some natural sciences managers may handle the storage, distribution and acquisition or supplies and equipment for example.

Typically, natural sciences managers spend much of their day in an office, but on occasion they’re called upon to other facilities under their management. If overseeing a particular lab, time will need to be spent in that lab for example. However, technology has made it increasingly possible for natural sciences managers to work remotely so travel to meet with off-site staff isn’t as frequent.

About half of natural sciences managers work 40 hours a week, but longer hours are typical of the other half. Often this overtime work is necessary, but uncompensated. Natural sciences managers need to keep their labs and facilities in order 24/7.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Natural Sciences Managers

Recommended Education Level

Requirements for education and experience of natural science managers varies greatly depending on the size and organization of the company. Small firms may only look for experience while larger ones often seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree and related experience.

Lower-level management positions with few responsibilities may only need a high school diploma coupled with experience, though more and more employers are favoring those with an associate degree.

Higher-level management positions in larger companies though require a bachelor’s degree. In the more technical field of natural science, managers may also need a bachelor’s degree at the lower level, but often postsecondary education in the sciences at a technical school will suffice. Course in human resources, computer applications, office technology, accounting and business law will all prove important on the job.

Impressive communication and leadership skills are important for future natural science managers because the job requires one to establish effective working relationships with supervisors, professionals, managers, clerks, blue-collar workers and many other different types of people. Other key skills include flexibility, the ability to make quick decisions, a good eye for details and ability to analyze. Being able to juggle multiple tasks at the same time, meet deadlines without stress and analyze and solve problems is also important for natural science managers.

In small organizations, natural sciences managers tend to advance their careers by moving to other management positions or switching firms to find a larger company. Professionals can boost their credibility by participating in online training from the Association of Professional Office Managers that’s geared toward small businesses.

At large companies with several levels of managers, a masters degree in business administration or a similar field can make a big difference in advancing to higher-level positions such as a director of natural science. With experience, some managers choose to start or join a management consult firm to provide services in the field of natural science on a contract basis.

Top 10 Most Popular Natural Sciences Schools

1. University of Washington, Seattle Campus (Seattle, Washington)
2. University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, California)
3. Pennsylvania State University, Main Campus (University Park, Pennsylvania)
4. The University of Texas at Austin (Berkeley, California)
5. The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas)
6. Mississippi State University (Mississippi State, Mississippi)
7. University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, Wisconsin)
8. Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary (Petersburg, Virginia)
9. Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
10. North Carolina State University at Raleigh (Raleigh, North Carolina)

See All Natural Sciences Schools

Employment and Job Outlook for Natural Sciences Managers

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).

In 2008 there were 259,400 jobs classified as administrative services managers, some of which were natural science managers. They work in several industries including 15 percent in education services, 12 percent in health care, 12 percent in state and local government and 9 percent in finance and insurance.

Job growth is projected to be about as a fast as average compared to all occupations. However, because there are only a limited number of higher-level management positions, those jobs will be tough to attain. The competition for lower-level management jobs should be less severe.

Overall, employment of administrative services managers is projected to experience a 12 percent growth from 2008 to 2018. The need for some positions may be reduced due to the increasing use of technology to automate some administrative tasks. However, the expertise of managers in specific fields such as natural sciences managers will be more important. These managers will be asked to improve profitability and streamline operations in order to cut costs.

Even though keen competition will accompany the small number of higher-level natural sciences manager positions, lower-level positions will be easier to attain. Natural sciences managers who possess a wide range of skills and who can take on a wide range of responsibilities will see better job opportunities than those that are only skilled in one field or function. Beyond new job growth, many positions will become available as workers retire, transfer or otherwise leave the occupation.

The strength of the economy often affects the demand for managers like these, but jobs are more stable in industries that are least likely to be affected by changes in the economy.

Earnings and Salary for Natural Sciences Managers

The wages of natural sciences managers vary depending upon geographic area, specialty and employer. The median annual wages of all salaried administrative services managers are $73,520. The highest 10 percent in the field earned more than $129,770, the lowest 10 percent earned below $37,430 ad the middle 50 percent took in between $52,240 and $98,980. The median yearly wages by top employing industry were:

State government: $65,690

Colleges, universities and professional schools: $72,460

Local government: $74,860

General medical and surgical hospitals: $77,870

Management of companies and enterprises: $85,980

Also in March 2009, industrial specialists in the Federal Government earned average annual wages of $82,169.

Annual Salary for Natural Sciences Managers

On average, Natural Sciences Managers earn $114,560 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $68,640/yr $88,460/yr $152,650/yr $166,400/yr

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook